Visiting Tulum is a unique experience that if you plan correctly, you will enjoy and remember for many years. Good planning makes all of the difference in a great vacation. Pre-purchasing a great audio guide will help you get more out of the attractions you visit.
BUYING YOUR TICKETS:
Tulum (and any other archeological site) sell tickets only at the official ticket office. You are going to find people offering tickets on the way there. Don’t buy your ticket with this people, they will charge you 2-3 times the price of the ticket. Don’t worry, tickets never sell out, and the queue is never more than 5 minutes long.
Bring cash (Mexican Pesos), and try to use small bills.
WHEN TO GO
Tulum opens every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with the last entry at 4:30 pm. Tour groups start arriving around 10 minutes after the sight opens, so plan to get there 15 minutes before it opens to avoid the crowds. Want to have Tulum for yourself? Visit it after hours, (7:00 am or after 5:00 pm). If money is not an issue, pay the after-hours fee (~$15 vs the regular $3-4), and you can have the place for your self. Remember, the earlier you get, the less hot and crowded it's going to be, but pictures might not be the best. Between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm Tulum is incredibly hot, but you can take breathtaking photos of the Caribean sea, choose wisely.
If you are Mexican and have your Mexican ID, entry is free on Sunday.
WHERE TO STAY
The best place to stay is in any hotel in or near Playa del Carmen, that is the best launching point for any destination in the Riviera Maya.
WHAT TO WEAR
Tulum is always hot, if you are planning on spending some time in the beach, wearing bathing suit and shorts is a good idea (and bring a towel), as there are no changing rooms on-site, if not, try to wear clear clothes like cotton pants and long sleeve shirts if possible to protect yourself from the sun. Regardless of what you wear, don’t forget to take a hat or an umbrella, and drink a lot of water through your visit, this will help you avoid a heat stroke.
Sunscreen is always a good idea, it doesn’t matter if you are not prone to get sunburns if there is one place you should wear it during your trip to the Riviera Maya, this is the place. Try to go with an SPF of at least 50.
There are a lot of mosquitoes in the Riviera Maya, especially during raining season, avoid wearing colorful clothes (in other words, try not to look a big flower!) and use DEET-based bug repellent (we always use Repel 100 Insect Repellent). Or citronella based if visiting Eco-parks or a Cenote the same day.
THINGS TO DO NEAR TULUM
Most people combine this visit with a visit to Xelha. But if you want to continue exploring Mayan ruins, drive to Coba and visit the two cenotes next to it. Or visit a couple of cenotes on your way back to Playa del Carmen.
So, what are you waiting for? Tulum is waiting for you.